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Kingsley Burrell family 'distraught' after officers cleared

FIGHT FOR JUSTICE: The family of Kingsley Burrell have vowed to continue their fight for justice

THE FAMILY of tragic Kingsley Burrell say they are distraught but will fight on for justice following the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announcement yesterday that four police officers at the centre of the probe into his death will not be prosecuted.

The news is a bitter blow for Kingsley’s family who have fought a tireless three-year campaign to find out how the 29-year-old trainee security guard died after being arrested by police in March 2011.

Officers detained him under the Mental Health Act after he dialled 999 for help and later admitted him to a mental health unit. He was transferred to Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he died four days later.

Kingsley’s sister Kadisha, who has led the family’s justice campaign told The Voice: “We’re distraught – and we can’t believe it has taken them three years to tell us this, but we will fight on. We’re already starting a plan of action and are considering taking out a private prosecution.

“We knew the CPS were going to hand deliver their verdict yesterday at 4pm, so beforehand I took my Bible and went up to sit by Kingsley’s grave to pray and talk to him. We will never give up fighting for justice. What happened to Kingsley was wrong and should never have happened.”

The family organised a peaceful protest in Birmingham city centre two months ago. During their three-hour walk which ended outside the West Midlands Police headquarters, they carried banners which said: “justice delayed is justice denied.”

Veteran civil rights campaigner Maxie Hayles, who has been involved with the family’s campaign from the start, said: “This decision is outrageous and completely disrespects the Burrell family.

“Kingsley’s appearance after his death was consistent with being beaten up. Then the CPS tell us there is “insufficient evidence” to prosecute anyone. Words fail me.


DISTRAUGHT: Kingsley’s sister Kadisha Burrell-Brown

“Over the years we have had this time and time again when it involves black deaths in custody. The CPS is always reluctant to bring any prosecutions when it concerns the authorities. Historically, they have a tradition of letting down the black community.”

“And the family has not even had a full inquest yet – they still have to go through that process. No wonder they have no faith in the Criminal Justice System – it needs a total revamp as it’s not fit for purpose.”

The family is meeting with campaign members over the next few days to discuss their next course of action which could include a judicial review.

Community activist Desmond Jaddoo added: “Cases like this fuel the debate that we have a two-tier justice system in the country – and more and more people in our community are starting to believe this.

“Clearly, this CPS decision provides no answers for the family. How does a healthy, fit young man with no history of mental illness end up being arrested under the Mental Health Act after he asked police for help, then dies within 72 hours.

“This CPS decision will also cloud any inquest conclusion, but that has not even started yet.”

In a statement the CPS confirmed there was insufficient evidence to establish that anyone assaulted or ill-treated Mr Burrell, or that there was a breach in their duty of care towards him.

It concluded: “There is insufficient evidence to establish that any individual misconducted themselves and there is, therefore, no realistic prospect of convicting any individual of the offence of misconduct in public office.”

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